£3.5m boost for Teesside water sports

A white water course on Teesside is to undergo a £3.5m upgrade in an effort to secure its status as an international sporting venue. The Teesside White Water Course in Stockton is planning to host Olympic athletes looking to train for the 2012 Games.

Regional development agency One NorthEast has provided the bulk of the funding for the project, which will see the height of the course's walls raised and new features and obstacles added.

Alan Clarke, chief executive of One North East, said: "This funding package will transform the course into a first class facility which can realistically compete to host top international sporting events."

The course is currently tidal driven, which means it can only be used three hours either side of low tide, making its promotion as a high-profile sports venue difficult.

Ken Lupton, leader of Stockton Council, said: "The course upgrade is a win-win situation for everyone. Capable of hosting world events, it can be converted almost at the flick of a switch to a venue suitable for the whole community."

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